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4 stars "Consuming Impulse" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Dutch death metal act Pestilence. The album was released in the US through Roadrunner Records in December 1989 (on Christmas day no less) while Europe had to wait until January 1990 for their fix of brutality. The band´s debut album "Malleus Maleficarum (1988)" is quite a raw and brutal thrash metal release, but it´s on "Consuming Impulse" the band step fully into death metal territory...

...there are still nods toward thrash metal like on most early death metal releases but the absolutely bestial growling vocals courtesy of vocalist Martin Van Drunen effectively erase any doubt that this isn´t a fullblown death metal release. Van Drunen is one of most distinct sounding growling vocalists on the scene. While his vocal style certainly is both brutal and at times deep (yet still intelligible), he has a desperate hysterical edge to his delivery that you don´t hear very often. People often have a "love him or hate him" type relationship with him because of his vocal style, but I think his vocals are one of the things that set early Pestilence apart from other death metal acts from that time.

The instrumental part of the music is tight and raw (but at times surprisingly sophisticated). New lead guitarist Patrick Uterwijk (who replaced Randy Meinhard after the release of "Malleus Maleficarum (1988)". Meinhard went on to form Sacrosanct) has brought a new dimension to the band´s music although we´re still for the most part talking screaming whammy bar abuse and generally fast paced soloing. The material are consistent in quality, catchy and well written and the 37:24 minutes of playing time fly by in no time. As all tracks are great it´s hard to pick highlights but the über brutal "Out of the Body" does stand out as something special to my ears. One of the "classic" death metal tracks from the early years of death metal and of course a classic in the band´s repetoire too. "The Trauma" is a personal favorite of mine and could be mentioned as a highlight too.

"Consuming Impulse" is packed in a powerful and raw sound production that suits the music perfectly. So just about everything work in the band´s favor on "Consuming Impulse" and it is rightfully considered a seminal European death metal release by many. A 4 star (80%) is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Report this review (#147900)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars PESTILENCE are known best as one of the original "progressive death metal" bands alongside DEATH, ATHEIST and CYNIC. But before that transition they were helping push the boundaries of extremity in music and have created an album that is even more brutal than any of the seminal releases in 1989 from Florida. Vocalist Martin Van Drunen, who would later be known for the Doomy Death metal band ASPHYX, provides a simply excruciating performance that exceeds the terrifying screams of OBITUARY's John Tardy. Quite a feat I must say. The music is very harsh and brutal featuring a mixture of fast and mid-paced songs comprised entirely of constantly grinding guitars, loud and merciless drums and pounding bass guitar that almost certainly feels to be the opposite of this site's focus.

While it doesn't strive for intricacy and depth in its delivery, it manages to create songs that make themselves known very clearly and many are definite standouts of old school death metal. At this time, the progressive aspect to death metal hadn't be explored that much yet so there is no way I can mark this down for being uncreative. It is very relevant to its time, and is very much a recommended piece of death metal. Although it may be tired to say that it's not going to appeal to a prog metal fan, it's just another one of those early albums from bands like this. I felt very convinced by its songwriting and although it's not much different in approach to most other bands of the time, it acquits itself more than adequately with little details that make the music worth coming back to.

Report this review (#148431)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars OH, NOOO! Pestilence-progressive rock???? Don't get me wrong: the music is here nothing but death-metal ...and it has nothing to do with progressive music. The music is brutal, with lots of growling voices. I was listening to this kind of music in high-school and the music of Pestilence was in my town very known between the metal kids. Pestilence was a standard death metal band...and still it is. We can talk about a progressive music only on Spheres. In another words, we have here a sample of extremity in music, and death metal was that period at his golden era marked by speed, force, noisy riffs and growling voice. The techno-death parts (I mean some pseudo-progressive parts) on this album are very difficult to catch, because of the musical violence and the speed drumming section.If it would be to rate death metal bands I would give 4,5 stars, but as progressive rock, sorry, 1,5 only!

Report this review (#167853)
Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars In early 90's Pestilence were one of my favorite death metal bands. I wasn't huge fan Swedish death metal at the time to be honest. Swedish death metal was popular but I prefered American and some British bands (Carcass, Napalm Death). Pestilence were Dutch and I didn't know anything about that scene. But I enjoyed their music. I remember that amateur video clip to Out Of The Body and how much I liked that song. Now having fresh look on this release I don't think it's such great as I thought back then. It's just solid death metal release. Patrick Mameli is really good musician and same goes to second guitarist Patrick Utrewijk who joined the band to record this album. Production of this release is strong and surprisingly clear as for death metal band. Of course it's still very brutal music. Just more complex than on the first album (still not progressive but not bad as for death metal) and better produced. It deserves solid 3 stars for ambitions and putting European death metal on quality track. Good job.
Report this review (#214079)
Posted Wednesday, May 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is regarded in death metal circles as somewhat of a classic. I can understand where those who believe this are coming from, even if I don't think it's a very good death metal album. To be fair, I could listen to much worse than this. But that still doesn't say a whole lot.

The music here is purely old school death metal. There are no progressive elements present on this album, and to be honest, there's not much I could recommend to death metal fans on here. The production sounds a bit too muddy at times, even for the late 80s. And except for the occasional guitar riff or drum fill there isn't much that holds my interest. The songs sound too similar to me. If I had listened to this back when I was into brutal death metal like this I probably would have enjoyed it more. Unless I'm feeling nostalgic however, I won't really have any urge or reason to pull this album out and listen to it. Plus I think that other early death metal bands (Death, Napalm Death, etc) played this style much better.

Despite all the negatives I have toward this album though, I can still manage to save it from just one star by adding another one to it. Recommended only to fans of old school death metal or those looking to complete their Pestilence collection, but don't expect too much. Those looking for some more progressive material should check out Testimony of the Ancients and Spheres instead.

Report this review (#219693)
Posted Wednesday, June 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is a small step towards the epic death metal stuff they did on the Testimony album. This album was regarded as a great death metal album when it was released. Today, it sound both dated and impotent. It has been surpassed by far superior death metal albums.

Some of the stuff here are OK. It gives a forewarning about the great step Pestilence did on the Testimony album. An album who then again led to Spheres. Reduced To Ashes is a good song with some epic melody lines. But most of the Consuming Impulse is just generic thrash/death metal and nothing more. This album can safely be ignored by the progressive minded. Even death metal fans will find it hard to like this album.

2 stars

Report this review (#220980)
Posted Saturday, June 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pestilence - Consuming Impulse (1989)

Pestilence is a Dutch Death/Trash metal band with growling vocals. The sound of the band is absurd in it's heavyness, an element that gave them some fame in the scene. Later on the band would focus on their progressive tendicies, which resulted in the (in progressive metal scenes) celebrated Spheres-album. Now, normally I don't spend many time listening to death metal (I'm a 'classic' progger), but for 1 euro a vinyl I'm willing to try something new.

Take some Metallica, detune the guitars even lower and play faster and heavier and one get's an impression of how Pestilence sounds on this Consuming Impulse album. All songs have that nice panicing vibe and those hilarious death growls, sometimes referred to as vocals. The lyrics are critical towards society, but some nuance seems to be abscent. The cover artwork is good/valuable in it's hopeless design and flawed effect.

All tracks are short, but most of them have many technical guitar riffs and some shredding solo's of both guitarists. Though not very balanced or thoughfull, Pestilence makes a professonal impression. All musicians play their instrument very well.

Conclusion. Saying this is only for collectors and fans might be correct here, for it isn't that much of a progressive record, but it would look as if this isn't a good record. And I do think it is a good death/trash record (especially for a Dutch one). Three stars it is then, but if you don't like this genre, you'd be better of to spend you money elsewhere.

Only recommended to fans of technical and very very heavy metal/trash.

Report this review (#377445)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Whereas their debut album had offered a death-tinged take on thrash metal, Pestilence's followup Consuming Impulse showcases them playing a thrashy style of death metal. Those who are especially fond of Pestilence's more technical or progressive takes on the genre, as on Testimony of the Ancients or Spheres, ought to be aware that you really won't find many hints of that here, since this is much more of a straight-ahead death metal album.

To an extent Pestilence could be accused of having followed various bandwagons, at least for the early phases of their career; they debuted with thrash metal in an era when thrash was king, then here they put out some death metal to tie in with the rise of that, then they went technical because that's what was getting fashionable in death metal circles, then they followed Cynic and Atheist into the jazz-death realm, and so on. Certainly, there is no shortage of death metal albums which sound a bit like this one, but it's still a reasonably good example of that style.

Report this review (#1644934)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2016 | Review Permalink

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